The political arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has endorsed State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) for re-election this year, making him one of several legislative candidates the group is backing. But it appears that Pennacchio’s opponent, Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo (R-Montville), is trying to make it look like the group is supporting him instead.
According to the NRA, Mastrangelo has been distributing postcards designed to look like the NRA’s official postcards in an effort to “mislead” voters into thinking he has their endorsement.
“Genuine NRA orange postcards inform voters about NRA-endorsed candidates,” the group said on Twitter. “Incumbent Joe Pennacchio is the only NRA-endorsed candidate in this race.”
Mastrangelo’s cards never technically claim the NRA’s endorsement; instead they say, truthfully, that he received an “AQ” rating, which the group gives to candidates who don’t have gun-related voting records to appraise. The cards then encourage voters to support Mastrangelo, who will “fight to protect and preserve our Second Amendment rights.”
Mastrangelo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pennacchio’s two running mates in the 26th legislative district, Assemblymen Brian Bergen (R-Denville) and Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), also have the NRA’s backing; so too do State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan) and Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) in the 3rd district, former Washington Township Councilman Chris Del Borrello in the 4th district, and Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-Matawan) in the 12th district.
Durr, however, was the only candidate to score an “A+” grade, reserved for those who make “a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.”